Marys, Graces, Sidneys, Jacks: Those Who Contend With Same Names


Olivia Chewning

Common Concerns: Sophomore Sydney Blackburn, junior Sydney Miller, and freshmen Sydney Collier, Sydney Heaton, and Sydney Ellis struggle with the common name troubles that follow them throughout the hallways and classrooms.

The problem that must not be named; or rather, the problem with too many names. Schools are over-populated with common names such as Sydneys, Mias and Isaacs — and the consequences are beginning to show. This issue plagues gift shops, pre-schools and high schools alike — from Johns to Jacks, there’s no escaping the problem with popular names.

Unfortunately the popular name plaque has affected every generation of the school population for decades, and the issues that have risen from the confusion remain to this day. Every child with a common name remembers walking into the aquarium gift shop to acquire a monogrammed name chain, only to watch the other Ryan triumphantly grab the last one on the entire rack.

Junior Sydney Jones says the struggles of a common name exceed the classroom and enter her social life. “Every time someone calls out ‘Sydney’ I turn my head thinking I have friends,” said Jones. “But they always tell me ‘Not you, the other one.’”

Jones says the only way to avoid the embarrassment is to ignore the call, unless it’s absolutely imperative. “I always ignore when people say my name now because I don’t want to look dumb,” said Jones, “But if they keep calling it out then I have to acknowledge them.”

For others, the confusion around the multitude of common names at North Atlanta lies not in the amount of names, but in the pronunciation. Junior Anna Coffin says that there isn’t any confusion around her name, but rather the spelling. “I really don’t get confused with other Annas if I’m being honest,” says Coffin, “The most confusion people have with my first name is whether it has two “N’s” or one.”

Alas, the problem with too many names is far from over. For the Johns, Jacks, Sydneys, Marys and Graces, the aquarium will probably always be out of name chains and the gift shop will never have enough monogrammed water cups. On the bright side, there will always be someone to share the pain with.